An important paradigm shift is necessary at multiple levels to advance sustainable sanitation services toward a circular economy in which wastewater is considered a valuable resource rather than a liability. Energy, clean water, fertilizers, and nutrients can be extracted from wastewater—and used to help achieve the SDGs. 

Wastewater production has been gradually rising over time as a result of population growth, water supply expansion, improved living conditions, and economic expansion. 380 billion m3 of municipal wastewater are produced worldwide each year. Production of wastewater is anticipated to rise by 24% by 2030 and by 51% by 2050. Although wastewater is a useful and sustainable supply of water, energy, and nutrients, it continues to be considered a problem because of the widespread belief that it is a source of pollution that needs to be cleaned and disposed of.

Wastewater can be processed to a variety of quality to meet the needs of business, industry, and agriculture. It can be treated in environmentally friendly ways and even used again as drinking water. The removal of wastewater allows for the preservation or utilization of limited freshwater resources. Wastewater treatment facilities can become more environmentally and financially viable by using their byproducts for energy production and agriculture.

Water supply and sanitation systems, as well as the water utilities that run them, can be sustained by recovering resources from wastewater facilities in the form of electricity, reusable water, bio solids, and other resources, such as nutrients. Using circular economy concepts in wastewater processing has a number of benefits, one of which is resource recovery and reuse, which can change sanitation from being an expensive service to one that is self-sustaining and contributes value to the economy. Therefore, efficient wastewater management offers a double value proposition if financial returns can partially or totally cover operation and maintenance costs.

Countries are beginning extensive projects to collect and treat wastewater in an effort to improve the region's wastewater condition. The area of water supply and sanitation has large investment needs. There is a chance to make sure that investments are made in the most effective and sustainable manner possible as cities continue to expand. Future urban development calls for strategies that reduce resource consumption and concentrate on resource recovery, in line with the circular economy's guiding principles. Wastewater is and ought to be regarded as a valuable resource from which it is possible to extract energy, nutrients, and an additional source of water.

In conclusion waste water is no more a pollution problem or an environmental issue instead in technologically advanced era it has gained importance as a source of nutrients, clean water and energy. There is a need to change the perspective and utilize the hidden resources in waste water.

About the Author: Muhammad Tahir is a postgraduate scholar in environmental sciences and deeply passionate about environmental studies and eager to pursue opportunities to deepen his knowledge and engagement in this area to make positive changes in this world.